Why are French pharmacy beauty products so idolized? Does it solely stem from the illusive myth of the Parisienne with her effortless glamour, timeless style and natural skin? I think there is more to it than an aspirational image. French pharmacy products are internationally revered because they do what they say they’ll do, without any fuss. Packaging is often functional, as are the product claims. Formulas often allow for multi-purpose usage. No fancy frills, no over-the-top promises, just straightforward skincare at affordable prices. I’d already written a couple of posts about French pharmacy skincare but it turns out there were still some products I’d yet to try out. Here are five cult beauty products you’ll come across over and over again. Time to discover – or re-discover – them if they’re not already bathroom cabinet staples.
I’ve seen and heard so much about this iconic cream and yet it’s taken me this long to get around to trying it out. Countless Instragram posts about this do-it-all multi-tasker, constant mentions in magazines from models to makeup artists who wouldn’t dream of turning up to a photo shoot without it. And the hype is justified. I cannot fault this product… well OK it’s not natural, BUT – it performs in so many ways. Gentle and effective makeup remover? Tick. Hydrating moisturiser? Tick. Soothing face mask? Tick. If I had discovered this cult classic beforehand I would’ve included it in my post about the five multi-purpose products to cover all basic beauty needs. My favourite use is as a cleanser: I squeeze a generous dollop of what looks and feels like natural yogurt onto dry skin and work it into every crease before removing with a wet muslin cloth (but for the eye area I prefer eye makeup remover). My skin looks clean, feels hydrated and looks plumped. 75ml RRP £20.00
I should’ve listened to my dermatologist six years ago when she told me that the only way to keep pigmentation at bay was to shield my face from the sun. Always. Forever. It seemed so drastic at the time but maybe I could’ve been a little more draconian on SPF application. And stayed out of strong midday rays. And invested in a sunhat sooner. So now I rely on Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance Serum to lessen the appearance of sun damage on my forehead. Teamed with the Dark Spot Correcting Night Cream, this worldwide cult favourite (one is sold every 2 minutes around the world) works to even out my complexion thanks to viniferine, the vine stalk sap which helps fade dark spots. Consistent use will deliver the best results, so throughout the summer this will be a staple in my evening skincare routine. 30ml RRP £46.00
The fastest way to remove makeup? No not a wipe. With Bioderma’s micellar water there is no excuse to fall asleep with a grubby face. Super gentle yet effective, it is suitable for sensitive skin and will banish every last trace of makeup, even mascara. Apply the solution with a cotton pad and swipe over skin until the cotton pad comes away clean, and that’s it you’re done, no need to rinse. It is such a French beauty staple, you will literally find this in every corner pharmacy. And if you haven’t got a Paris mini break planned you won’t need to miss out, as Boots has got in on French pharmacy beauty in a big way these last few years so you’ll find this little gem online. 250ml RRP £10.80
No cult French pharmacy beauty roundup is complete without Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse. As with Embryolisse Lait Crème Concentre, this product came be used multiple ways: to nourish and soften your face, hair and body. It contains a multitude of seed oils including macadamia, hazelnut, sweet almond, argan and sunflower, but as this is a dry oil spray you can get dressed straight after with no greasy residue, and the lightweight mist is ultra-fine so there’s no risk of over applying. Although it states you can use this as a face oil, I prefer to keep it to my body and my hair’s dry ends as it does contain fragrance. It’s a beautiful fragrance featuring orange blossom, rose and vanilla, but if you have very sensitive skin it may be worth doing a patch test first. And for a summery vibe Nuxe have launched three limited edition pool-inspired bottles. 100ml RRP £29.50
This is the first facial mist I ever used, probably a good 20 years ago. It’s the kind of beauty basic you’ll find in many French bathroom cabinets or toiletry bags and is used by the whole family. The spritz that completes a beauty routine, it can be used throughout the day to freshen up frazzled skin or mid-afternoon makeup. Or, as I found out one summer, it can get you through a mid-July drive through Provence with no air con. 150ml RRP £7.70
What is your favourite French pharmacy beauty product? Leave a comment below to let me know.
Features gifted product